Daughter of farmer receives offer of full-ride scholarships to top 3 US universities

MANILA, Philippines – Aryenne Ysabelle Rodrigo once believed that it was impossible for her to pursue her education abroad because it was such a far-off dream. But, thanks to her intelligence, grit, and determination, she defied the odds and is now well on her way to realizing her dream. At the age of 18, she was offered a full-ride scholarship from three top universities in the US: Harvard, Princeton, and Amherst.

Aryenne Ysabelle Rodrigo full scholarship offer US
Aryenne Ysabelle Rodrigo achieved her dream of studying abroad after she got accepted into full-ride scholarships at Harvard, Princeton, and Amherst | Photo Courtesy: Facebook/ Aryenne Ysabelle

In a Facebook post, Aryenne recalled how she used to read stories about Filipinos studying abroad and how she wished she could do the same and make a difference in the lives of Filipinos. She wrote, “I've dreamed of studying abroad for as long as I can remember. I used to read countless news and stories about Filipinos who successfully pursued their studies in the US and wanted to make a positive impact in the Philippines.”

Aryenne recalled that, having been born into a modest family of farmers in which his father also works as a tricycle driver, she knew that completing college and achieving her dream seemed impossible. Now a senior at The Compostela National High School, Aryenne recalled how she used to sell “pastil” and chili peppers at school to earn her allowance and contribute to the family.

Finally, Aryenne is in disbelief that all her hard work paid off. She was offered a full-ride scholarship to Harvard University, Princeton University, and Amherst College. She said getting the opportunity to go to college at top US schools for free and achieving her dream of becoming an environmental scientist is the “perfect gift” she could give to her hard-working family.

She wrote, “All of these acceptances went far and beyond my expectations. By getting accepted to the best schools in the world—Harvard, Princeton, and Amherst—my heart is filled with gratitude and excitement for the resources, experiences, and knowledge I will acquire over the next four years.”

Aryenne created “I AM Gina,” an AI-powered app that assists people in properly segregating waste. You can use the app to take a photo of your trash and the app will tell you the correct classification. Aryenne had to work as an intern at the Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Office (MENRO) in her hometown of Compostela, Davao de Oro. She hopes her app could help find solutions to the problem of solid waste management and contribute to the fight against climate change.

Aryenne expressed gratitude to her teachers, mentors, local government officials, and the entire community for their roles in her success. But importantly, she thanked her very supportive parents, whom she described as the “best parents in the universe.”

According to her post, Aryenne has yet to decide which university she intends to attend. But she’s looking forward to making a change in her hometown. She said, “No one is harnessing the dormant energy in Davao de Oro. But I'm excited about the potential of geothermal energy to power up the millions of homes in the Philippines. At Harvard, I want to learn how I can help my province transition from fossil fuels to renewable resources."

In the end, Aryenne said she hopes her story and experience will inspire other students to embrace their ambitions and reach for the stars. “You may face obstacles and challenges along the way, but don't let them discourage you. Remember that there is no limit to what you can achieve, as long as you believe in yourself and are willing to put in the effort,” she wrote.

— Sally, The Summit Express

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